I am very happy to be here to witness the formal inauguration of Augustine University, Ilara-Epe. This is indeed a very heartwarming and welcome development for the entire Epe people, and especially for me as an indigene of Epe.
The inauguration of this Citadel of learning brings to Four (4) the number of Privately-owned Universities in Lagos State and a total number of Six (6) Universities in Lagos State. Considering that we have over a population of over Twenty Million (20m) people, Seventy-Five per cent (75%) of which are below the age of Thirty-Five, you realise that Lagos still needs more Universities and the government alone cannot provide that.
This is why we are grateful to the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos for establishing the Augustine University. The Catholic Church has always been in the forefront of Educational development in the State with the establishment of first class schools like Saint Gregory’s College and the Maryland school complex. The Mission has continued in its efforts with the establishment of first, a College of Education and now a University.
The foundation laying ceremony of this institution took place about Six (6) years ago in October 2009. The progress made over these past six (6) years has culminated into today’s landmark occasion. This is a clear attestation of the deep commitment of the Catholic Church of Nigeria to education and the visionary leadership of His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. Thank you so much.
The significance of this event goes well beyond just the inauguration of this institution, but to the realization of the vision of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos to create an educational institution that will serve as an inspirational model to students, faculty, staff, community and above all our country in the years ahead.
There is no doubt that the establishment of this University will bring numerous benefits to the immediate and surrounding communities. Economic and other activities are expected to be accelerated and we expect to begin to witness the setting up of new businesses with potentials of creating employment and other opportunities for the people here.
Everyone here today will agree with me that we live in a time of Change. The best way therefore to manage change, whether positive or negative, is to anticipate it and prepare for it. From my experience, I have come to the conclusion that there is no greater form of preparation to manage change than through education. I also believe that there is no better investment that the individual, parents, and the nation can make than an investment in education of the highest possible quality.
My administration believes strongly in investing in Education. We have recently committed over One Billion Naira (1bn) for the renovation of schools and supply of furniture and educational materials to our Primary and Secondary schools. We have approved the employment of over 1,300 teachers into our Primary schools. This process is ongoing and will be completed next month.
At the tertiary level, we are committed to resolving the ongoing challenges in our State-owned University, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. We are actively engaging all the major stakeholders and just recently new governing councils were inaugurated. We are confident that very soon the issues around LASU and other tertiary institutions will be resolved.
Education is very critical in today’s world and we must all be ready to contribute our quota to ensure no stone is left unturned in making it the bed rock of our development.
I am delighted that our religious bodies have become actively involved in education again. In the past, missionary schools combined a good mix of academic and moral upbringing, nurturing Nigerians with a conscience and desire to do what is right. I know because I am a product of one of such schools – St. Jude’s Anglican Primary School, Ebutte Metta.
I congratulate the Proprietor of this institution and head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, the Vice Chancellor Professor Steve Olaoluwa Afolami, the Governing Council, Trustees, Management staff, students, the entire Catholic community and the people of Epe on this auspicious and historic occasion.
I have no doubt in my mind that this University will not only raise the standards in University education in Nigeria but will also mould character. Our nation is in need of men of knowledge, but knowledge without character, will not take us to the promise land.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Itesiwaju Ilu Eko, lo je wa l’ogun!!!
Governor of Lagos State,